A Few Alternatives to Super Dark Nail Polish (That Are Still Kinda On The Dark Side)

When it comes to fashion and beauty trends I am not always brave enough to be a true follower. There are always styles that are cute and chic on others that I could never pull off (for example teal eyeshadow, black lipstick/gloss or leggings with boots). If you like dark nails but feel the new releases are a bit too vampy or deep, here are four softer alternatives I really like:

L to R: OPI Melody in Mocha, Paul & Joe #20 Manhattan, Urban Decay Gunmetal, Dior Lemon Balm, Chanel Noir Ceramic

* I believe the OPI and Chanel are both discontinued, but you can still find quite a few online through swap boards, ebay or discount nail e-tailers

* OPI Melody in Mocha is a complex fawn grey with slight mauve tones and gold shimmer, I was lucky to get one in a swap and love it – I think there are quite a few dupes, there’s one from China Glaze that might be similar (the flash makes it look lighter and emphasizes the silver – in real life it’s not quite as pale for the swatch at least)

* Paul & Joe #20 Manhattan is a sparkley medium-light gunmetal shimmer, it is on the sheerer side so I had to use four coats but the finished result has a lot of depth – it’s hard to explain but it looks different depending on the way the light hits the color

* Urban Decay Gunmetal is currently only available in the Apocalyptic Nail Kit, I really hope it comes out in full size, it’s a deeper gunmetal shimmer with slight brownish tones in it so it doesn’t turn blue on me like most gunmetal shades

* Dior Lemon Balm was a Nordstrom Exclusive for their last Anniversary Sale, I believe you might still be able to find it online at nordstrom.com, it’s an oddly-named color, in the container it looks more greyish, but on the nails and compared to the other greys, it definitely pulls more purple with brown shimmers

* Chanel Noir Ceramic was photographed mainly for comparison purposes, but it’s a nice black with silver shimmers which make it softer and less harsh than most blacks, a close dupe is Chanel’s Black Satin which is darker

One more view:

I’d really LOVE to hear your favorite shimmer nail polishes that are medium-to-dark. I’m always looking for more colors by recommendations to check out. I tend to feel overwhelmed when I shop at Ulta or Sephora for nail products – too many colors to choose from and I usually end up with too many reds that look almost identical.


  1. October 27, 2009 / 7:39 pm

    Next time you are at Ulta, check out Essie's Wrapped in Rubies. I love how all the dark colors look on others, but they never look quite right. I think my style is too conservative for the greens and blues! This shade is a deep burgundy w/gold shimmer. It's very elegant and even though it's dark, it's office appropriate. 🙂

  2. October 27, 2009 / 7:56 pm

    Nice! I'm a big fan of China Glaze Wagon Trail (blacked olive green) & MAC Deep Dark Delicious – I've got fairly olive toned skin & these work nicely for me, but I have to admit I hate the MAC formula on DDD. Chips like crazy, so if anyone has dupe suggestions I'd love to know. I've yet to find a gray I can wear well, but the hunt continues.

  3. October 27, 2009 / 10:31 pm

    I am loving the colors you featured. Because I'm a med-dark skintone I fully embrace the DARK nail trend. I got bored of my usual long french manicured nails of the summer – cut my nails and paint the dark! My favorite at the moment are OPI Espana collection – Suzi Skis the Pyrenees, Here Today Aragon Tomorrow and the fuschia Ate Berries in the Canaries, I also love MAC's Rich, Dark Delicious and the grape For Fun. i also love NARS Tokaido Express and Essie's Wicked…

  4. October 27, 2009 / 10:43 pm

    Love the Dior one!! I like this more than the Chanel in the same colour.

  5. October 28, 2009 / 10:52 pm

    I really like the Chanel one and Dior's Lemon Balm. I agree, weird name, it'd be the last thing I thought of!

  6. October 29, 2009 / 4:05 pm

    I LOVE Dior polish! It looks so beautiful…

  7. October 29, 2009 / 9:19 pm

    Hi ladies, thank you for all your suggestions and comments. I am making a list of what to check out in the next week!

  8. October 30, 2009 / 6:19 am

    I love Zoya Freja for a not-too-dark. My current fav is definitely OPI Merry Midnight though. It's dark, but not so much the color doesn't shine through and the flaky glitter and shimmer are just amazing!

  9. October 30, 2009 / 10:41 pm

    wow your nails are most beautiful! i mean, i am looking at the shape and how they fit into your fingers. lol

    seriously, those colours are all fabulous on you. i never thought brownish colours work for skin tone like yours. now i think i can venture out to try some. i stick to boring pink nude when i do wear it. (like once a year…)

    love your blog and i can see it's attracting a lot of readers! i always tell people to come by. (do i get some commission? :P)